tv U.S. Senate CSPAN December 28, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EST
>> and congressional leaders are scheduled to meet at the white house later today. we're going to take you live now to the u.s. senate as they are about to resume. senators are considering an extension of the foreign intelligence surveillance act or fisa. in about 45 minutes, we're expecting a vote on an amendment to the fisa bill, this a vote on final passage. the house passed it in september, and if the senate passes without amendment, it heads to the president for his signature. the senate is expected to move to a $60 billion spending bill for hurricane sandy victims. we're expecting up to 21 amendments on that bill. now live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer.
the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, before whom the generations rise and pass away, watch over america and use our senators to keep it strong and good. imprint upon their hearts such reverence for you that they will be ashamed and afraid to offend you. remind them that their thoughts, words, and deeds are under divine scrutiny. bless also the many others who work faithfully on capitol hill and whose labors bring dignity and efficiency to the legislative process.
we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., december 28, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable mark r. warner, a senator from the commonwealth of virginia, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore.
the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: following leader remarks the senate will begin consideration of h.r. 5949, the fisa reauthorization bill. at approximately 9:45 a.m. this morning, there will be several, up to 25, roll call votes. in order to complete action on the fisa bill and on the supplemental appropriations bill. the senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. until 2:15 p.m. to allow for caucus meetings. additional votes in relation to executive nominations are possible today. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. the senate will proceed to the consideration of h.r. 5949, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 510, an act to extend the fisa amendments act of 2008 for five years. the presiding officer: under the previous order, --
mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent to vacate the quorum call -- we're not in a quorum call. i ask unanimous consent to call up my amendment which is at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from oregon, mr. wyden for himself and others proposes amendment numbered 3439. at the end, add ad the following, section 5, report on the impact of the fisa amendments act of -- mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent the amendment be considered as read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. under the previous order, there will be 30 minutes of debate, equally divided prior to the vote on the wyden amendment. mr. wyden: mr. president, given the events of yesterday, this is the last opportunity for the next five years for the congress to exercise a modest measure of real oversight over this intelligence surveillance law. here's why: colleagues, it is
not real oversight when the united states congress cannot get a yes or no answer to the question of whether an estimate currently exists as to whether law-abiding americans have had their phone calls and emails swept up under the fisa law. that is the case today. colleagues, it is not real oversight
when the congress cannot get a yes or no answer to the yes of whether wholly domestic communications between law-abiding americans in this country have been warrantlessly intercepted under the law. that is the case today. colleagues, it is not real oversight when national security agency leadership states in a public forum that the agency
does not keep dossiers on millions of americans, and yet they will not give the congress a yes or no answer as to whether the agency collects any sort of data on millions of americans. that is not the case today. so, mr. president, what this amendment does is it gives us the opportunity to do real oversight, real oversight by getting yes or no answers to questions that have been asked repeatedly by members of the intelligence committee. the amendment in order to ensure that national security is protected at an important time in our country's history, gives the president of the united states unfertered discretion --
unfettered discretion, unfettered discretion to redact any information that he believes is necessary in order to protect the country's national security. and the amendment do not require any agency to do new work. we've heard cited repeatedly that it would be impossible to do an estimate, and projections that have been discussed in the past. so we have changed course and we have said all we are seeking here is a yes or no answer to the question of whether an estimate has actually been done. mr. president, this is an important time for american security. it will always be an important time for american security. it is also an important time for american liberty, and this amendment ensures that we can
strike the appropriate balance between protecting our country's well-being and also protecting the individual liberties that we all cherish. mr. president, i would reserve the balance of my time at this point. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: i rise in opposition to the amendment. this amendment would require the director of national intelligence to issue a public report within 90 days, assessing the impact of the fisa amendment program and the surveillance authorities on the privacy of u.s. persons. now, that sounds benign, but it is not. the goal of this amendment is to make public information about a very effective intelligence collection program that is currently classified. all of the material, all of the information has already been made available to the senate
intelligence and judiciary committees. all they have to do is read it, and it's hundreds of pages of material. senator wyden has raised a number of issues that all concern the potential for surveillance conducted pursuant to authorities to result in incidental collection. section 702 authorizes the executive branch to go to the fisa court -- that's a federal court, a federal district judge is appointed by the chief justice and obtain annual approval for certifications of the attorney general and the d.n.i. that identify categories of foreign targets. these are what i call a program warrant, to conduct surveillance on nonu.s. persons. in other words, people who are not united states citizens or -- citizens or lawful rez
dentsd who are located outside of the united states. now, it is possible that there can be some incidental collection of communications who are u.s. persons. a target calling a united states person. this potential for incidental collection does not mean that the intelligence community is intentionally conducting surveillance on u.s. persons. in fact, doing so would be a violation of law. here's the key point to understand about incidental collection: although the government may, under the right circumstances, be authorized to retain the communication between known terrorists and presumptive u.s. person or persons, including the phone number he relayed to the terrorist, the government cannot place the united states number on surveillance and start
collecting the calls to and fro the u.s. number without first obtaining a court order or a warrant. to do so would be to target a united states person, which i'll explain is reverse targeting. can the government use section 702 to target a u.s. person? this is important. and the answer is no. the law specifically prevents direct collection against u.s. persons. this prohibition is codified in 702-b which states that the section may not be used -- and i quote -- "to intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the united states or to intentionally target a united states person reasonably believed to be located inside the united states." is there a loophole or back door
that allows the government to use 702 to target u.s. persons by searching incidental collection? answer: no. the department of justice, the d.n.i.'s office, the f.b.i. and the n.s.a. have all advised that limiting the ability of intelligence analysts to review and analyze information already in the government's possession under 702 would make these agencies less able to respond quickly during a developing terrorist plot. in sum, review of the information already collected enables the government to protect against a terrorist attack on this nation. as of october 7, 2011, the congressional intelligence and judiciary committees received over 500 pages of information from the department of justice
that specifically related to matters covered by this amendment. the senate intelligence committee held a closed hearing in october. the senior senator from oregon attended. these were the issues specifically discussed. in december of 2012, the congressional intelligence and judiciary committees received in excess of another hundred pages of material relating. we held another closed hearing, which the senator attended where these issues were discussed. the inspectors general for the intelligence community and n.s.a. have both provided classified and unclassified responses to letters written by the senator from oregon and the senator from colorado explaining why it is not feasible to estimate the number of people inside the united states who have had their collection -- their communications collected or reviewed under these authorities.
and finally, the d.n.i. sent a letter. now, here's the point:if you want to talk about oversight, all of this is there and it's effectively the intelligence committee of the united states senate to do its oversight and go in and read the materials. i feel very, very strongly that what this aims to do is make public a program that should not be made public at this time. make public names and numbers of names which should not be made public at this time. so i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. finally, i would like to place in the record a letter from general alexander, the head of the national security agency, which essentially explains remarks that he made and a letter that he wrote to the senator from oregon, which explains those remarks. i thank the chair, and i'd like
to yield the floor to the vice-chairman for the remainder of my time. thank you. mr. chambliss: mr. president, i oppose senator wyden's amendment also because it imposes an unreasonably burdensome reporting ritter on the d.n.i., and it is inconsistent with the purpose of fisa, which is to obtain foreign intelligence information. this amendment would require the diversion of scarce intelligence community personnel and resources away from the identification of foreign intelligence information. rather to assess whether any wholly domestic communications have been inadder have at any timely collected under f.a.a. authorities. this is an unnecessarily and pointless exercise. a collection system was designed to comply with fisa's clear prohibition against the intentional collection of wholly domestic communications, and let me just -- let me just read you to how specific this is in the
law. this is directly out of section 702, which the amendment seeks to attack. there are limitations against collection of information under the following guises: an acquisition authorized under subsection "a" which is to collect information from knows located outside the united states. we may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located inside of the united states, may not intentionally target a person reasonably believed to be located outside the united states, if the pup of such acquisition is to target a particular known person reasonably believed to be in the united states, may not intentionally target a united states person reasonably believed to be located outside the united states, and it goes further into detail and is very
specific about the fact that there is no authorization to target united states persons. as the chairman said, it's our duty as members of the intelligence committee to do the oversight required to make sure that these laws are complied with. and we do that. we do it in a very deliberate, in a very direct way by not only having the individuals responsible for the collection of this information made available to the committee but all the way to the top, the individuals who collect it as well as the leaders of the intelligence community come in once a year, and they'll come more ofnlg than that if there's a problem that we need to address, and we review this information. the senator from oregon, the distinguished presiding officer, members of the intelligence committee, you know the type of oversight that's available to
us. so if there's any question, any question about what is done and whether section 702 is not being complied with, we have the opportunity to ask the questions. the amendment by the distinguished senator from oregon actually goes further than what he said was a simple "yes" or "no" question, and requires that the spell generals community go into great detail on any estimate or any finding where a united states person may have been involved. and is that really the type of information that we need for our intelligence community to spend their time on versus trying to find bad guys around the world? i think the answer is pretty simple. it's not abused if there is a problem, as we talked about yesterday. the problem is addressed by the
intelligence community, by the intelligence committees on both the house and senate side. if there is a problem, we fix it. there are minimization procedures that are in place that address this issue, that are used when necessary. and i would just say that, if we do our job, then there's absolutely no reason for this amendment, and we do our job. the chairman is very diligent in making sure that the annual reviews are set at specific times of the year. every member of the committee has an obligation to be there at the hearings, to ask the tough and the right questions. and as far as i know, every member of the committee has done that. and we have provided the right kind of oversight, so i would encourage my colleagues to vote against this because it simply is an unnecessary amendment, and
it is the last amendment we have to consider, and i sumly would say, as we said over and over yesterday, we've got to get this bill on the desk of the president by december 31. that's, what? -- three days away now. so it's important that we conclude this this morning, that the bill be sent to the president's desk so he can sign it, so we can continue to provide the right kind of supervised collection against foreign individuals to make sure that america and americans are protected. and with that, i would yield the floor. mr. udall:man, i rise in support of the wyden amendment. before i share my thoughts on the amendment, i wanted to express my respect and admission for the chairwoman and the vice-chairman of the senate intelligence committee. they're professionals and are
easy to work with and have the security of our people front and center at all times. as a member of the senate intelligence committee, i've learned a great deal about our post-9/11 surveillance laws and how they've been implemented. and in the course of my two years on the committee, i've determined that i believe that there are reforms that need to be made to the fisa amendments act before we renew this important law. earlier this year nor wyden and i opposed the bill reported out of of the senate intelligence committee extending the expiration date of the fisa amendments act because we believe that the congress does not have an adequate understanding of the effect that this law has had on the privacy of law-abiding american citizens. in our view, it is important for members of congress and the public to have a better understanding of the foreign intellectuaintelligence surveile conducted so that congress can consider whether the law should be modified rather than sumly extended without changes.
that's the simple purpose of the amendment that senator wyden and i and other colleagues have filed. to make more information available for members of congress and the public so that they have a better understanding of the law and its implementation. this amendment requires the director of national intelligence to provide information to congress about the effects of the fisa amendments act on the privacy of men's, something we all hold dear. it would require information whether on estimation that be conducted of how many u.s. information has been collected under the act and if so, how many, whether officials have gone through these communications to conduct warrantless searches for the phone calls and e-mails of specific americans. it would not require the intelligence unit to conduct any new estimates of americans whose communications may have been collected under the statute and would give the president full
discretion to redact information from the public version of the report. i'll conclude by retating my belief that the american people need a better understanding of how the fisa amendments act, section 702 in particular, has affected the privacy of americans. i also believe we need new protections against potential warrantless searches for americans' communications. and i believe, mr. president, without such reforms, congress should not simply extend the law for five years. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, let me just thank my colleague from colorado. he has been a wonderful partner in this matter of trying to strike a balanc balance. how much time remains each side? the presiding officer: the opponents have eight minute--tht
minutes and the opponents have two minutes. mr. wyden: let me say this again, that when the chairman said that this amendment seeks to publish names, i would just like to say that's simply factually incorrect. in no way, shape, or form does this amendment seek to publish names, and i want to tell colleagues that if anyone were in connection with this program to seek to publish names, i would vigorously oppose that effort. i simply just want to make sure the record reflects that. now, we've heard by the opponents of this amendment that the intelligence community has already provided the congress with lots of information about
the fisa amendments act. the reality, however, is a lot more complicated than that. much of that information is in highly classified documents that are difficult for most members to review and the reality is, most members literally have no staff that are cleared to read the documents that have been cited here. so the fact is, most members of congress don't have staff to help them deal with these complicated issues, so they're in many particulars in the dark about the program, and certainly the 300-plus million americans who expect us to strike that balance between security and liberty also are in the dark. now, mr. president, i've already
noted that the amendment gives the executive branch unfettered authority to make redactions, and i just want to make sure every senator hears the exact language, because i think this is as broad a redaction proposal as i've seen in my service on the committee. the redaction proposal states, "if the president believes that public disclosure of the report required by this section could cause significant harm to national security, the president may redact such information from the report made available to the public." so i hope colleagues who have asked about whether this would endanger our country, particularly at a dangerous time -- now they've heard here on the floor of the senate that somehow this amendment would seek to name names -- i hope they will see, one, that that's not the case and, number two, that the president, as outlined on page 6, has sole and unfettered
discretion to redact the report as he sees fit. mr. president, i also want to respond to this point that there would be no time for this to be considered by the other body, if we add this modest measure of oversight. the other body will be meeting on sunday, as i understand from the news reporting this morning. so they will be here this weekend. the house -- the other body is perfectly capable of passing an amended bill, getting it to the president by the end of the month. the distinguished vice chair and i both served in the other body. we know that when they're here, particularly on something that just involves a report, it would be very easy for the other body to pass this and send it to the president. the house, in fact, passed the extension are a few months ago
with over 300 votes, so passing it sunday when the other body is in session seems to me to not exactly be a difficult and arduous task. what it comes down to, mr. president, is what you define "robust congressional oversight" over a program like this to be. and i would say, again respectfully, that to me, without basic information as to whether an estimate even exists -- in response to clerks again, this is not talking about anybody going out and dolin anda lot of work. this is a question of either responding affirmatively or negatively to the question that senator udall and i have been asking these several years, does an estimate exist as to whether
or not law-abiding americans have had their communications swept up under this law if and there's a reason to be concerned about this because senator udall
and i have worked very hard to get at least a little bit of information on this, and we have been able to declassify that there has been a fourth amendment violation in the past. i believe without this information that senator udall and i have sought that is behind this amendment, those who say that there ought to be robust congressional oversight of this program ought to reflect on the fact that without this information, which is so essential to do our work, oversight is not robust, it's toothless. it's toothless. if you cannot get an answer to the question as to whether or not an estimate exists as to how many americans have had their
communications swept up. so i close, mr. president, with this: this is, as the distinguished chair of the committee said earlier, a critically important
time for american security. those of us who serve on the committee, the distinguished president of the senate here's those briefings, we go into that room and the doors are locked and you certainly get significant information to the the -- about the threats to the well-being of this country. so it is an important time for american security. it is also an important time for american liberty. and to paraphrase ben franklin as i did yesterday, those who give up their liberty in order to have security, as ben franklin said, really don't deserve either. the two are not mutually exclusively, mr. president. we can do both.
that's what the constitutional teeter-totter has always been about. security
of the country here, protecting our libs liberties over here. what senator udall and i contend this morning is that without access to information about critical questions such as whether an estimate even exists as to how many law-abiding americans have had their communications swept up under fisa, we can't answer the question as to whether the constitutional teeter-totter is in balance. so i hope my colleagues will vote for this amendment, given the events of yesterday. colleagues, this will be the last opportunity, the last opportunity for five years to exercise some modest measure of real oversight over this program. i hope my colleagues on today a bipartisan basis will support this amendment.
mr. president, i yield the floor. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, i believe we have -- how many minutes? the presiding officer: two and a half minutes. mrs. feinstein: just one minute. the fact of the matter is we do an intelligence authorization bill every year. if there is a need for change, we can change. so this isn't the last opportunity to effect any change for five years. it is the last opportunity to see that this bill -- that this section continues on without interruption. i also want to point out that one of the areas where the administration has really made an effort is to put people, whether it's the d.n.i., whether it's the department of justice, to come to the hill and explain to individual members how this works. with respect to the classified materials, any member has access to it, any member can go up and read this material.
the staffs of the intelligence committee can read this material. the intelligence committee can read this material. as chairman, i'm happy if someone comes up with an irregularity, i'm happy to look at it, to have a hearing on it, but to change this at this time has my very strong opposition. i would urge a no vote and i would like to yield to the vice chairman. mr. chambliss: i'd echo what the chairman has said, the very well-trained, dedicated staff of the intelligence committee is available to assist any member to review the classified information that is the subject of section 702. that's why they're there. the senator from oregon is right, every member of congress doesn't have that highly trained, top-secret staff member, and there are reasons for that, there are reasons why the intelligence committee
members do have those types of staffers. and those staffers are available at any time for discussion of this issue or for that matter, any other issue relative to national security that's within the purview of the intelligence committee. so i again say that this amendment is simply totally unnecessary because there are specific and direct prohibitions in the law as well as in court decisions that do not allow our respective intelligence community agencies to listen in or review emails or whatever on u.s. citizens unless it's under some sort of court order where probable cause must be shown. and we need to make sure that we're equipping our intelligence community agents with every single tool necessary to combat
terrorists around the world. this section is critical to doing that. i urge a vote against the amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from california. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. under the previous order, the question occurs on the amendment numbered 3439 offered by senator wyden from oregon. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 43, the nays are 52. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. under the previous order, the clerk will read the bill for a
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, on this vote, the yeas are 73, the nays are 23. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for passage of the bill, the bill is passed. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 1, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 14, h.r. 1, an act making appropriations for the department of defense and the other departments andations of the government for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2011, and for other purposes. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3393 offered by the senator from maryland, mr. cardin.
ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: first of all, madam president, the senate is not in order. and if i could outline -- the presiding officer: may we have order in the chamber, please. ms. mikulski: if the chamber could be in order, i could outline what i think would be an expeditious way of disposing many amendments that would be done in a collegial way. it is my understanding that we will be able to adopt a number of amendments by voice. in order to do that, i will call up a few more amendments now en bloc before a voice vote on the amendments. i ask unanimous consent to call up the following amendments en bloc: grassley 3348 and feinstein 32 -- excuse me, feinstein 3421, as amended. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report the amendments by number. the clerk: senator from maryland, ms. mikulski, for mr. grassley proposes amendment
numbered 3348 -- ms. mikulski: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: i ask unanimous consent now that we proceed to vote on the following amendments en bloc: cardin 3393, grassley 3348, feinstein -- the presiding officer: is there objection? ms. mikulski: madam president, i have a series that i wish to go through. okay? so let me start again. because i have have about seven of them. cardin 3393, grassley 3348, feinstein 3421 as modified, harkin 3426, landrieu 3415, leahy 3403, coburn 3369, and division 1 of coburn 3370.
a senator: these amendments have been cleared by the managers on this side. i know of no objections to their adoption. the presiding officer: without objection the amendments will be considered en bloc. ms. mikulski: the -- the presiding officer: if there is no further debate on the amendments, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendments are agreed to en bloc. ms. muls: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: it is my understanding the senator from arizona, senator mccain, no longer wishes to offer amendment 3384 so senator bingaman of new mexico is in line to offer the next amendment under the -- in order under the agreement and i see he is here now to call up his amendment and now we will
proceed to debating amendments where there were more extensive time asked. but i ask members not to leave the chambers. these are four minutes of debate, ten minutes of debate, and if we all stick together for a change, we can all move this bill in a way that we can be proud of. madam president, i now yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. bingaman: madam president, i thank the manager of the bill, the chairman of the appropriations committee. at the same time that hurricane sandy -- first i call up amendment 3344. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: senator new mexico, mr. bingaman for himself and others proposes an amendment numbered 3344. mr. bingaman: madam president, i ask that further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. bingaman: as hurricane sandy was --. the presiding officer:
senators, may we please have order in the chamber. and under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3344 offered by the senator from new mexico, mr. bingaman. thank you. mr. bingaman: as hurricane sandy was bearing down on our own east coast, causing tremendous damage, a super typhoon named bofa was also striking the small pacific nation of palau. the u.s. embassy there in palau issued a disaster declaration on december 5. in response to this emergency, palau has asked that the assistance agreement signed by the united states in 2010 be approved so that the funds already agreed to can become available for disaster recovery. palau is a strategic ally of ours in the western pacific near guam and the philippines and
indonesia. last year our defense department wrote "failure to follow through on our commitments to palau as reflected in the proposed agreement would jeopardize our defense posture in the western pacific." it's important that the u.s. demonstrate its reliability as a strategic partner in the pacific by approving this 2010 agreement with palau and meeting our commitments. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. the presiding officer: who yields time in opposition? mr. bingaman: i'm happy to see the matter dealt with a voice vote. ms. mikulski: i move the amendment be adopted by voice. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate on the
amendment, all those -- mr. cochran: the senator from mississippi. mr. sessions: i object to the voice vote. i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. mr. sessions: on -- to speak on this remaining? the presiding officer: there is 30 seconds remaining in opposition. mr. sessions: madam president, this is the result of a compact that has to my knowledge not been brought before the foreign relations committee. it commits us to direct spending for -- permanently, entitlement type spending that i do believe needs more careful review, madam president. i thank the chair. my time i believe has expired. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the question is on amendment
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 52, the nays are 43. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. under the previous order, there will be four minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to raiment number 3368. ms. mikulski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: madam president, i -- senator -- the gentleman from oklahoma, senator coburn, has asked that he have a chance to get his own paperwork together because he has extensive remarks. i'm going to ask unanimous consent that the coburn amendments be temporarily laid aside until he's able to return to the floor, and we will move to tester and then return to coburn. so that's -- and i believe the minority concurs, before i make
my u.c.? mr. cochran: madam chairwoman, we have to objection to the request of the senator. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: madam chair, i ask unanimous consent that coburn 368, 370, 371, 382 be temporarily laid aside and that the senate proceed to tester 3350. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: madam president? madam president? the presiding officer: there will be two minutes of debate equally divided. senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, madam president. this amendment 3350 is to provide additional funds for wild land fire management. the summer of 2012 was a bad fire year, third worst on record, 9.2 million acres burnt. the drought has continued to persist. proexjs for 2013 is the fire season will be even worse.
the forest service budget, when you have bad fire years, they have to rob from other accounts. that was the case this year with a shortfall of $653 million. this amendment closes that gap and gives the forest service the resources for the next upcoming fire season, which is due to be a bad one. this also -- the amendment also includes -- requires the g.a.o. to recommend new models to better reflect the costs associated with wildland fires because they've been underfunded so much in the past. this will establish a better model and reduce the need for supplemental funding in this account in the future. here's the scoop, folks. the damage done by fires particularly in the west was -- was extensive and is an emergency. they can continue the forest service can continue to rob money from other accounts to fight these fires which ends up in poor forest management and even bigger fires. i would encourage your
concurrence with this amendment. thank you madam chair. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: to yields time? the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i appreciate senator tester's energy on this issue, and desire to move forward with it. we do have a process for this kind of funding to occur. he would add $653 million in prospective wildlife mitigation spending and declare that as an emergency, spending that is really better handled through the regular appropriations process. it is not -- it's actually moving forward faster, he's trying to ensure -- make sure that this money is set aside but it's not the time to do it now and i appreciate his interest. therefore i would raise a budget point of order pursuant to section 314-e-1 of the
congressional budget act. i raise a point of order against the emergency designation provisions contained to amendment number 3338, the intament to h.r. 1, the vehicle for the supplemental appropriations act, and i appreciate the senator's efforts but do not believe it's the appropriate process at this time. mr. tester: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: pursuant to section 904 of the congressional budget act of 1974 i i move to waive all applicable sections for the pending measure and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the question is on the motion to waive. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: mr. president, unfortunately -- the presiding officer: if the senator will suspend. the point of order is sustained. the emergency point of order is removed. the senator from montana. mr. tester: we couldn't sustain this budget point of order. it truly is an emergency situation particularly in the west. we've seen the number of fires we've had. without the emergency designation it does some bad things to our budget next year. with that, i would ask unanimous consent to pull this amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the amendment is withdrawn. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i ask unanimous consent to speak for one minute with the tester withdrawal. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. mikulski: i thank the senator from montana for withdrawing his amendment. we are mindful of the issue of fires facing the western senators. we look forward to dealing with this problem in a sensible way
that meets the needs of local communities and our serious budgetary constraints. mr. president, i also urge that we return to regular order and ask that we move our amendments as expeditiously as we could and stick to 15-minute votes so that we can get as much done as we can before we adjourn for lunch and visits to the white house. and i want to thank the minority for their excellent cooperation in doing what we've done already. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be five minutes of debate. there will be four minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3368 offered by the senator from oklahoma. dr. coburn. mr. coburn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma is recognized. mr. coburn: i'd ask for order in the chamber, please. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. please take your conversations outside of the chamber. the senator from oklahoma is
recognized. mr. coburn: the sandy supplemental appropriations bills provides $3.5 billion in funding for new construction projects through the corps of engineers. of that $3 billion of this account is towards reducing future flood risk. not repairing present. reducing future. i talked to c.r.s. this morning after listening to my colleague from new york. on average over the last 25 years the average participation rate was 35%, 65%. no exceptions. for future mitigation risks were made during katrina. it was not 100%. it was not 90%. all this does is restore it back to what we had traditionally. and what we know is that projects that shouldn't get funded won't get funded when we have this kind of ratio. i reserve the balance of my
time. the presiding officer: who yields time in opposition? mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. this amendment, if passed, would not allow the sandy states or future states to protect themselves against the future disasters. my colleague draws a very clear line between protecting from the present rebuilding and the future. if a do you know is wiped out in long beach -- if a dune is wiped out in long beach and to rebuild it they think it should be seven feet rather than five feet because five feet wouldn't be good enough, we come to the irrational, i think, conclusion we would pay for the five feet and not the seven. it makes no sense. most of the cost of rebuilding -- most of the coast reef building is to -- most of
the cost of rebuilding is to restore. if there is an extra amount needed to prevent a future hurricane and it is the same type of project, fine. we have a couple of piers that actually protected the water, protected the houses in the rockaways. they didn't build enough of them. not piers. jettys. under my colleague's proposal we could rebuild those but couldn't build enough to protect the land there. new york and new jersey is dotd with little localities. the cost of these projects is so expensive that if you say 35 they won't get built. period. we will have no protection, and we will be back here sure enough when another storm occurs. furthermore, it is not true. katrina army corps projects were funded at 100%. they did not call them. we didn't draw this new line between mitigation or rebuilding to protect and building for the
old. they were lumped together. but the overwhelming majority of army corps projects in katrina, as my colleagues, both my colleagues from louisiana can tell -- the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. mr. schumer: was 100%. mr. coburn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: doesn't mean they won't get rebuilt. it means that portion of the increase will be a contribution rate of 35%. the differential is, and what we know from history, when this was put in is it keeps projects that don't benefit from being built. the fact that the senator from new york claims that they won't get built is just untrue. everything's going to be restored. but new mitigation projects should have a cost share so that we don't do frivolous mitigation projects. so i would insist on the yeas and nays on this amendment, and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 44. the nays are 51. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, is not agreed on. is not agreed to. under the previous order, there will be four minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3370 in division 2 offered by the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn. mr. coburn: mr. president, can we have order in the senate, please? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order.
the senate will be in order. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: mr. president, i have no doubt there are significant damages in the past fisheries, both on the west coast, alaska and on the east coast. but a large portion of this money in this bill is not for fisheries but for research. and this should not be in fact in an emergency supplemental bill. and so all this amendment does is say that fisheries reparation inside 50 miles of sandy qualifies for this money. outside of 50 miles does not. the regular process of going through the appropriation process, making appropriate judgments about priorities is what we need to be doing. just like the point of order that was made on the fire fighting. so i would suggest that we
eliminate this portion of it, or at least limit it to sandy and not other areas. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, first i'd like to bring something to the gentleman from oklahoma's attention -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. ms. mikulski: first you've got a decimal point wrong. i feel amused correcting the oklahoma senator on numbers. but if you read his amendment, it's .50 which makes it a half a mile, rather than 50 miles. so that's 49.5 off. but before you ask consent to correct that, whether it's a half a mile or 50 miles, i oppose the gentleman's amendment
because the act, this amendment tries to steer fishery disaster funding for communities only affected by siting -- citing the stafford act limiting it to a half a mile or 50 miles. fish swim big distances, as do crabs, as do lobster, and particularly those big king crabs. under the gentleman's amendment, by talking about the stafford act, it actually has no bearing on fisheries. fishery disasters are declared by the secretary of commerce, according to the federal fishery and commerce laws, at the request of governors. fishery disasters are necessary, urgent, and unanticipated. under this amendment, all federally declared disaster areas would miss out on much-needed financial help. and i urge "no" on the coburn amendment.
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: for the information of all senators, we're going to have two votes before we break for our caucuses. the republicans have a caucus. we have one. we're going to -- so we'll have two votes before lunch. and then at 2:00 we'll have another vote. if the meetings run over a little bit, that will give 15 minutes to get here to vote. then senator mcconnell and i are going to be indies posed from -- indisposed from 3:00 until 4:00, so we'll have a brief time there. and then we'll finish the bill, we hope, after that. ms. mikulski: if the leader could withhold for a moment. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. reid: mr. president. the order says we'll come back at 2:15. i ask that be modified that we come back at 2:00. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: if i might discuss with the leader, and with the -- the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: the senator from oklahoma has a series of amendments, and i wonder if we could debate the next amendment now, which is the feinstein
amendment, and then have two stacked votes. or if you just want to follow regular order? i ask unanimous consent that the vote on coburn 3372 be laid aside, that the senator be allowed to speak on amendment 3371 -- excuse me. 3371, and then following that, we dispose of the gentleman's amendment -- have two votes at the same time. essentially we're asking for two -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: so the senator from oklahoma is going to debate the
second amendment, and then we'll have two stacked votes? the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be four minutes debate on amendment number 3371. the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: before we go to the second amendment, i'd ask unanimous consent, i'm looking at my transcription of this amendment and it says 50 miles. so if in fact what the desk has does not say 50 miles, i ask unanimous consent to amend the amendment to read 50 miles. ms. mikulski: i object. mr. coburn: amendment 3371, mr. president. the presiding officer: the
senate will be in order. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i just want to say to the gentleman from oklahoma, there does seem to be a dispute in the printing. so whatever it is, we're going to get it straight and we're going to work with you and function with maximum courtesy here. so if we could just know whether we're talking about a half a mile or 50 miles.
mr. president, could i ask the clerk to clarify, is it a half a mile or 50 miles? the presiding officer: the chair advises it is 50 miles. ms. mikulski: to the gentleman from oklahoma, i apologize, and i'm sorry about the delay, and we look forward to further debate on the second amendment. mr. coburn: phr-t? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: amendment 3371 is a good-government house cleaning for fema. fema determines disasters based on a declaration process that's based on a per capita income, or per capita damage indicator. it has not been revised to account for the effects of inflation. and because we've not revised it, the smaller states actually get more benefit from fema than the larger states. oklahoma has had 25 disaster declarations in the last six
years, more than any other state. so what i'm actually proposing won't help my state. it will actually hurt my state. but it is improper for us to continue to use an outmoded number when in fact a small state has the same amount of damage as a large state but the per capita indicator would say it does not meet the requirement. so all i'm requesting is that fema over the next four years update this. it doesn't have any application until 2016. that it gives them time to update it. and that through good government, then we have a better reflection of when we declare a disaster and when we don't as far as the per capita income indicator would tell us. i yield back. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: mr. president, i rise in opposition to this amendment, but i want to say that the senator from oklahoma raises a very good point. but this comes under the jurisdiction of the committee
that he is actually a ranking member with the new chairman, senator tom carper, to be done in an authorizing action, not on this particular bill. now, it does need some updating. but the other point that needs to be looked at -- and i think the senator from oklahoma will agree with me, because the federal government can't do everything -- is what role the states should play in helping counties, particularly rural counties, like what happened in joplin, missouri; like what's happened in oklahoma, like what's happened in tennessee. what should states do to help these more rural counties that get hurt? so i agree with the senator in the need for an update. this is not the time to do it, however, and i urge a "no" vote on his amendment and turn it over to the authorizing which the of which he is a member, to provide for appropriate oversight in that venue. mr. coburn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to recapture 15 seconds of my time.
the presiding officer: the senator has 40 seconds left. mr. coburn: this bill is full of authorizations. i mean, literally full of authorizations. this is something i've studied and looked at. i've been looking at fema for eight years. we shouldn't wait to do this. let's do it now. it's common sense. it doesn't harm anybody. it actually makes us better at what we're trying to do with federal emergency management. ms. landrieu: 15 seconds stphraoes. the presiding officer: the senator has 45 seconds left. ms. landrieu: the senator is left that this bill is full of reforms that you and i and others have worked on, but every one of these reforms has been agreed to on both sides of the aisle. this has not. and the senator could continue to work with us and find a way forward. i would urge a "no" vote on this now, and i promise we will give him as full attention and get this taken care of but at a later date.